Shelf Awareness for Friday, January 22, 2016

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

St. Martin's Press: See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem Into a Breakthrough Success by Danny Warshay

Harper: Free Love by Tessa Hadley

Walker Books Us: Ferryman by Claire McFall

Shadow Mountain: The Slow March of Light by Heather B Moore

Berkley Books: Women who defied the odds. These are their stories. Enter giveaway!

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

Editors' Note

Safe Travels, Northeasterners!

Cathy Langer tidying up Tattered Cover before Winter Institute.

Tomorrow the American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute 11 starts in Denver, Colo., and already many booksellers and other attendees have begun arriving--especially from the Northeast, moving up flights to try to beat the blizzard. It promises again to be a wonderful event, and we look forward to seeing many of you at WI11!

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay


New Owner for Storybook Shoppe, Bluffton, S.C.

Nancy Beautre, founder of the Storybook Shoppe, Bluffton, S.C., has sold the children's bookstore to Sally Sue Lavigne and is retiring, the Island Packet reported.

Lavigne described herself as an "avid reader" and said she frequently visited the store when her two children, now in college, were reading children's books. About the purchase, she said, "I'm excited and terrified at the same time."

Lavigne plans a few changes, the paper said, including making daily Instagram posts, introducing a new rewards program and expanding the store's service discounts, but otherwise the business will "largely stay the same." She's also asking customers about inventory and wants to reach middle- and high-school-aged readers.

Opened in 2009 in Habersham, the Storybook Shoppe moved to Bluffton in 2010. Besides children's books, the Storybook Shoppe offers handcrafted toys, children's art, cards and more.

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

Davies Is New ABA IndieCommerce Director

Phil Davies

Phil Davies has joined the American Booksellers Association as the new director of IndieCommerce. Bookselling This Week reported that he "is jumping right into his new role" by attending Winter Institute 11 in Denver "to meet with stores in the IndieCommerce program and to get to know ABA's membership."

"I plan to work with the team to figure out how we can make IndieCommerce into an even stronger system," said Davies, who brings experience in e-commerce and in the book business to his new position.

Davies grew up in Santa Barbara, Calif., where his parents owned Earthling Bookshop for more than 20 years. The bookstore, which opened a second location in San Luis Obispo., remained an ABA member and a family-run operation until it closed in 1998. Most recently, Davies founded a business that "developed and managed an online antiques and collectibles marketplace of independent sellers, a business he maintained for nearly two decades," BTW wrote.

"One of the reasons I was interested in this position with ABA is because it's so similar to what I was doing before," he said. "I've got the book background and I've got the independent seller background, so to me it seemed like the perfect fit."

Davies can be reached at 800-637-0037, ext. 7527, or via e-mail at

Chronicle Books: Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel

South African Chain Aims to 'Make Books Sexy Again'

South African bookstore chain Exclusive Books "has redesigned its flagship Johannesburg store, with the result breaking 'the shackles and restraints of the chain-store mentality' in order to make books 'sexy' again," the Bookseller reported. The "extravagant revamp" features "a panoramic forest view" as well as the Social Kitchen & Bar, "a place where 'books flow into the restaurant.' " Although the store's official opening is at the end of January, CEO Benjamin Trisk said the new concept has increased book sales year on year by 20%-30% since the store reopened.

The architect team Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens were recruited to work on retail design concepts, and Exclusive Books said the partnership turned into a collision of style: "Trisk wants design so that he can sell stuff; Silvio and Lesley want design that puts form ahead of function. But both agree that the cookie-cutter approach to chain-store design is outmoded.... Trisk wants stores that make books sexy but that carry the cultural heart of Exclusive Books from development to development, always seeking to break the shackles and restraints of the chain store mentality."

Trisk considers the redesign a blueprint for future stores: "I have the sense to do this... so as long as the shareholders have the money to do it, I will do it. I do not know about the U.K., but we would like to open in Europe. The countries to the east of Germany particularly interest me--Romania, Hungary, Austria--as does Florence, possibly Barcelona, maybe San Francisco."

Berkley Books: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier

#GiveaBook '15: PRH Gives 50,000 Books to First Book

In its second year, #GiveaBook, Penguin Random House's social media and online campaign to promote books as gifts and to give to children in need during the holiday season, was deemed a success: the company said that between November 16 and December 24 last year there were nearly 50,000 uses of the hashtag #GiveaBook on Twitter and in posts to the GiveaBook, Penguin Random House and Givington pages on Facebook. For each use of #GiveaBook as a tweet or post, Penguin Random House donated a book to the literacy nonprofit First Book.

"Through the #GiveaBook effort, book lovers everywhere shared that love with 50,000 children in need," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "We are so grateful to Penguin Random House for providing these brand new books for the classrooms and programs we serve, giving a gift that will be treasured throughout the year."

In last year's campaign, the Giving Map was a tool that showed visitors where they could make a donation at a local book retailer or library during the holiday season. The map led online visitors to local book donation programs, driving foot and web traffic to participating retailers across the country.

Ben Bruton Forms PR Agency

Ben Bruton

Veteran book publicist Ben Bruton has founded his own book PR firm, Ben Bruton Literary, A Public Relations Agency, specializing in publicity campaigns for literary, general, commercial and debut fiction, as well as narrative and general nonfiction, including history, biography, memoir and pop culture. In his more than 20 years in the book publishing industry, Bruton has worked with major authors and helped guide many debut novels and debut nonfiction titles onto the New York Times bestseller lists.

He was most recently senior director of publicity at William Morrow/HarperCollins, and has also worked at Atria Books, Doubleday and Nan A. Talese Books, and Putnam and Riverhead. He has a Master's degree from the NYU graduate writing program, and his short fiction and essays have been published in various literary journals and magazines. He may be reached via e-mail or through his website.

Obituary Note: David G. Hartwell

David G. Hartwell at BEA 2015 (photo: Andrew I. Porter)

Longtime Tor editor David G. Hartwell died on Wednesday. He was 74 and had been injured in a fall, according to Locus Online.

In 1971, Hartwell became a consulting SF editor for Signet. He joined Berkley in 1973, rising to editor-in-chief of science fiction. He moved to Pocket Books in 1978, where he launched the Timescape imprint, which he ran until 1983. He began working as a consulting editor for Tor Books in 1983 and became a full-time senior editor at Tor in 1995. Hartwell edited thousands of SF books and edited or co-edited more than 40 anthologies.

Tom Doherty, president and publisher of Tor Books, commented: "David Hartwell was a brilliant editor. I met David in the early '70s when he was working for Berkeley and got to know him better as he was creating Timescape. I've worked with him closely for the last 33 years at Tor Books. In all that time, no editor was more influential in the shaping of science fiction and fantasy than he.

"He was a founder of the New York Review of Science Fiction, where he still served as reviews editor, a founder and chairman of the board of directors of the World Fantasy Convention, an administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. A three-time winner of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor Long Form, David later withdrew his name from contention to give younger editors an opportunity to shine.

"Characterized so well by John Updike in the New Yorker as a 'loving expert,' his list has been a solid rock in the foundation of Tor. In addition to bringing a vast selection of books to the field, he always found time to mentor younger editors as they learned the trade. David's Year's Best anthologies consistently placed high in the Locus reader polls. David's legacy leaves an indelible mark on the literature and the culture of science fiction and fantasy--as an editor, a mentor, and a fan. He shaped our concepts, our tastes, and in some ways our expectations of these immense and beloved genres.

"Fascinating to talk to on any aspect of science fiction, his perspective so fundamental to the building of our company, David was a very special man, and he was my friend. I and so many in the community will miss him."


Image of the Day: Authors Take N.J. Bookstore by Storm

Mac Barnett (pictured), author of The Terrible Two Get Worse, took Maplewood, N.J., by (before the) storm! On Tuesday, after three school visits arranged by [words] Bookstore, Barnett came to the store for a talk that enthralled a full house of kids of all ages. Once they left, [words] hosted a wine-and-cheese reception on the bookstore floor for 100 guests to celebrate the national book launch of In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, with John Donvan and Caren Zucker, followed by a conversation by the authors about the book with store owners Ellen and Jonah Zimiles in their event space.

More of the 'World’s Most Beautiful Bookshops'

In an apparently neverending series, Luxe Guides is the latest publication to highlight its choices for "12 of the World's Most Beautiful Bookshops," noting: " 'A library is full of new worlds to travel," or so the adage goes, but we believe quite the opposite--that the globe is packed with paperback pushers well worth travelling to. Book nerds and interior aficionados get passports and specs ready for this divine dozen of biblio boltholes."

Book Trailer of the Day: Septimania

Septimania (Overlook Press) by Jonathan Levi, the co-founder of Granta, who is also a producer, musician and author. The music for the video, "Unimaginable," was written and scored by Levi, and the video co-stars Iva Bittova.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Toni Morrison on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Toni Morrison, author of God Help the Child (Vintage, $14.95, 9780307740922).

Dr. Oz: Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein, author of The Dirt Cure: Growing Healthy Kids with Food Straight from Soil (Atria, $26, 9781476796970).

MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry: E.J. Dionne Jr., author of Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476763798).

Movies: Rebel in the Rye; Crossing to Safety

Kevin Spacey will star with Nicholas Hoult in the J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye, directed by Danny Strong from a script he adapted based on the Kenneth Slawenski's biography J.D. Salinger: A Life. Deadline Hollywood reported that "Hoult was set last fall to play Salinger as he progressed toward writing the seminal novel of the 20th Century. Spacey will play Whit Burnett, a professor at Columbia and editor of Story magazine. "


Escape Artists has optioned Wallace Stegner's 1987 novel Crossing to Safety, Deadline Hollywood reported, noting that this "would be the first time any of Stegner's novels have made it to the big or small screen." The adaptation is being written by David Bloomfield.

"I am so pleased that the Stegner estate has entrusted this beautiful book to us," said Escape Artists' Todd Black. "This novel has deeply touched the lives of everyone who has read it. This will be a special film, an intense tale for four great actors and a poignant and ultimately uplifting love story."

TV: Telex from Cuba; Drew

Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy (Carol) is adapting Rachel Kushner's 2008 novel Telex from Cuba as a TV series for Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, Variety reported.

"I am thrilled to begin work on bringing the complex, beautiful, colliding worlds of Rachel Kushner's magnificent novel to dramatic life," Nagy said. "The political, social and economic landscapes of Cuba in the 1950s is rich, exciting territory--and I look forward to exploring it all."


CBS has ordered a pilot episode of Drew from CBS Television Studios and writers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan (Grey's Anatomy). Variety reported that the "contemporary take on the character from the iconic Nancy Drew book series... will center around a diverse, 30-something title character. A more mature version than the classic story, Nancy is now detective for the NYPD where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world."

CBS president Glenn Geller said recently that the new Nancy Drew is written as a diverse character, though he "did not specify whether she'd be African-American, Latino, Asian or another ethnicity, but he did confirm she will not be Caucasian."

Books & Authors

Awards: Sydney Taylor; International Dylan Thomas

Winners of the 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries and honoring "new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience," are:

Younger Reader winner: Ketzel, the Cat who Composed by Lesléa Newman with illustrations by Amy June Bates (Candlewick Press)
Younger Readers Honor books:
Everybody Says Shalom by Leslie Kimmelman with illustrations by Talitha Shipman (Random House)
Shanghai Sukkah by Heidi Smith Hyde with illustrations by Jing Jing Tsong (Kar-Ben Publishing)
Older Readers winner: Adam & Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld, translated by Jeffrey M. Green, with illustrations by Philippe Dumas (Seven Stories Press)
Older Readers Honor book: Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch (Amulet Books)
Teen Readers winner: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick Press)
Teen Readers Honor books:
Serendipity's Footsteps by Suzanne Nelson (Knopf)
Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer (Orca Book Publishers)

See Notable books here.


A 12-book longlist has been announced for the £30,000 (about $42,300) International Dylan Thomas Prize, which is sponsored by Swansea University and recognizes "the best eligible published literary work in English, written by an author aged 39 or under." The shortlist will be released in March, and a winner unveiled on International Dylan Thomas Day (May 14). This year's longlisted titles are:

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
The Tusk that Did the Damage by Tania James
Disinformation by Frances Leviston
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
Physical by Andrew McMillan
We Don't Know What We're Doing by Thomas Morris
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
Find Me by Laura van den Berg

Book Brahmin: Ian Rankin

photo: Hamish Brown

Ian Rankin is the author of the long-running series featuring Inspector John Rebus and set in Edinburgh, where Rankin lives. The Rebus books have garnered many prizes, including the Diamond Dagger and Gold Dagger and the Edgar Award. Rankin is the recipient of an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) and is Deputy Lieutenant of Edinburgh. His latest novel is Even Dogs in the Wild, published by Little, Brown (January 19, 2016).

On your nightstand now:

Deep Shelter by Oliver Harris, a fast-paced conspiracy thriller set in contemporary London, featuring one of the most disreputable (yet engaging) cops you will ever meet.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Until about the age of 12, I only read comics--Batman, Superman, that sort of thing. But there were all these films I wanted to see as a teenager, and I discovered that though they were forbidden to people under the age of 18, no one wanted to stop me reading the book--so I started reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, The Godfather by Mario Puzo, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, etc.

Your top five authors:

Muriel Spark, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ruth Rendell, James Ellroy, Lawrence Block.

Book you've faked reading:

I can't think of one. I've never been embarrassed to say I couldn't finish a particular book or can't get into a certain author. Proust? Gave up. Don Quixote? Gave up.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg. It's a difficult and ambiguous book about religion and evil, which also happens to be a really early serial killer thriller. (It was published in 1824.)

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber--the contents were pretty good, too!

Book you hid from your parents:

When I was 13 or 14, a friend loaned me The Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander. To be read by flashlight once the house was asleep.

Book that changed your life:

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. It was literary in style but also an exciting read. I started writing short stories that borrowed heavily from it. I was maybe 14 or 15.

Favorite line from a book:

"When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California." --The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley.

Five books you'll never part with:

Bleak House by Charles Dickens; Laidlaw by William McIlvanney; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark; The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg; Lanark by Alasdair Gray.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy. 

An author, alive or dead, with whom you would most like to share dinner:

Robert Louis Stevenson.

Book Review

Review: The Iceberg: A Memoir

The Iceberg: A Memoir by Marion Coutts (Black Cat/Grove Press, $16 paperback, 9780802124609, February 2, 2016)

Tom Lubbock was an art critic for the Independent and the father of an 18-month-old boy, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008. In The Iceberg, his wife, Marion Coutts, a versatile and prolific artist and writer, recalls his final years. The resulting memoir is musing, lyrical, ambling and sometimes digressive. The range of emotions she expresses is startling and real.

Coutts begins with "a diagnosis that has the status of an event" as she introduces her husband and their son, Ev. Tom works with words and concepts, meticulously and thoughtfully constructing the writings that are his livelihood and passion. When he has a seizure, a tumor is discovered in the speech and language part of his brain: Tom and Marion must reinvent communication. They practice and make lists: of names of friends, of ideas for outings, of opposing word pairs (big/small, light/heavy). They play a game of yes/no questions when Tom has something to discuss: Is it about your work? Is it about us? Is it food or clothing? These coping mechanisms are an interesting intellectual exercise, but are also central to this family's experiences. Coutts writes: "I have lost the second consciousness that powers mine. Lost my sounding board, my echo, my check, my stop and finisher. I am down to one."

The Iceberg neatly captures the events of diagnosis and death, with a stark attention to what comes in between, and little reference to the rest of life. Tom's medical conditions are described with varying levels of detail, as Coutts often has only a vague understanding of them. Her encounters with the British National Health Service are frequently frustrating. These physical realities are less than central, however. The Iceberg is a forthright emotional account, often celebratory, even exultant: Tom especially often finds joy late in his life. Of course, Coutts is also destitute, bereft, undone. Such feelings alternate with a cerebral, even detached perspective. These jarring intersections are at the center of her story. She writes unflinchingly of her short temper with Ev, and occasionally with Tom; she relates both anguish and resolve, resignation and anger, often with a striking sense of remove. "There is going to be destruction: the obliteration of a person, his intellect, his experience and his agency. I am to watch it. This is my part." Or of sitting at his deathbed: "I love being in position here. It is perfectly correct."

Coutts's prose is layered, textured, dense with meaning and interjected with brief e-mails to loved ones about Tom's status along the way. As a consideration of art, life, death and love, the full impact of The Iceberg is deeply moving and intelligent, a worthy elegy. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: An artist reflects in a variety of ways on the end of her writer husband's life.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Answer Your Bookstore Cat's Questions Day

Open an Instagram account and follow a bookstore that has a cat. This cat will have its own Instagram account. The booksellers will pose the cat next to books the cat is "reading." --Helen Ellis, author of American Housewife, in a Powell's Books blog post headlined "How to Be a Patron of an Independent Bookstore"

Maybe you didn't know this, but today is Answer Your Cat's Questions Day ("Take some time and attempt to work out what questions your cat is asking, and make a concerted effort to fill in the blanks.").

Maisie has an editing question.

Since we're in a business with a substantial feline workforce, it's appropriate that we enhance the celebration by offering a variation on the theme: Answer Your Bookstore Cat's Questions Day.

Some cats, of course, may have only one question: Why bother? The best answer is one I'd give to my own cats: Why not? While they aren't, strictly speaking, bookstore cats, mine are certainly book trade cats, helping out at the office in their own unique ways. And they always look like they have questions.

Writer Midge Raymond gets it. She recently chronicled her editing cat Oscar's attempts to assist while she's working: "He walks back and forth across the keys until I pick him up and cuddle him. He has an amazing ability to step on the keys in such a way that a computer function that I previously had no knowledge of is suddenly revealed to me. Perhaps his greatest contribution occurred as I was reading through the first-pass edits for my novel, which were in PDF. Not knowing that I could make notes on the PDF, I was writing on a pad of paper when Oscar, rushing to attack the pen, stepped on the keyboard in such a way that a PDF Post-it popped onto the screen, thus cutting my editing time in half." (Warning: cat editing results may vary.) What would Oscar's questions be?

Al at Village Lights Bookstore, Madison, Ind.

To help celebrate Answer Your Bookstore Cat's Questions Day, Mashable handily got the q&a ball rolling last week, advising us to keep our New Year's reading resolutions because "the bookstore-owning felines of Instagram--where the #bookstorecats hashtag has become popular of late--have not forgotten. Your decision to neglect another book club meeting has not gone unnoticed by these fuzzy-bellied, hyper-judgmental bookworms." Among their queries: "Been a while since you picked up a book, eh?" And: "I recharge for 72 hours between every novel for maximum reading comprehension. Don't you?"
In that spirit, I wondered what other questions bookstore cats might have, so I conducted an informal poll. Here are a few of their questions. I'll translate, but you have to provide the answers on a case-by-case basis. Your inquiring cats want to know.

Sales floor
Why aren't your books organized by flavor and texture?
Do the "what I can chew" rules have to be so damn complicated and contradictory?
Don't you find it intriguing that new books taste better, yet old books smell better?
Why do you let so many strangers in this place? And why can't your customers control their kids?
Why do you have so many cat titles classified as humor or counter books? It's insulting.

Social media
Is that another photo of me going up on your Facebook page?  
Since you keep posting my pictures all over social media, do you think it's such a good idea to use my name as your password for everything?
Does it ever bother you that posts featuring me get dozens of likes, while all your other posts barely get a nibble?
Can't you come up with a synonym for "cute?" (Thesauruses are in the reference section, aisle 4.)
Aren't "cat selfies" over yet?

Office/service counter
Why are you always tapping your paws on that machine?
Why can't I catch a cursor?
How is it that giftwrap paper is totally off limits, unless you roll some up into a ball and decide it's a toy for me?
Why is that foamboard poster still at the end of the counter, blocking my sun?
Oh, were you reading this? (while standing on the pages of a book)

Why don't you read to me more often? I don't know what your words mean, but they sound nice.
Where do you go at night? Where does everybody go at night?
Who is the greatest writer about cats ever (and don't say T.S. Eliot)?
Why read when you can shred?
Where are you going now? Can I go to?

For some reason, many of the bookstore cats I contacted felt the need to quote Mark Twain: "If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but it would deteriorate the cat." Guess you'll just have to ask your cat for clarification on that one. --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

Powered by: Xtenit